Port’s “State of the Port” Previews Positive Business Outlook
February 10, 2011
Port of Oakland's "State of the Port" Previews Positive Business Outlook
“Sold Out” Breakfast Featured Oakland Mayor, Port Board President and Port Executive Director
Oakland, Calif.– February 10, 2011–The Port of Oakland held its annual “State of the Port” on Thursday, February 10, 2011 from 7:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. at the Hilton Oakland Airport, Oakland, California. Approximately 400 attendees packed the ballroom to hear from Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, Oakland Board of Port Commissioners President James Head, and Port Executive Director Omar R. Benjamin. The audience represented a broad mix of Port stakeholders including business, community, labor, and government partners.
Port Board President Head said that the role of Port Commissioners is to set policy and that those policies help support an innovative and sustainable port, “Together, through Port Board policies, our tenants’ businesses, and our community partners, we are working to grow business and jobs, while delivering environmental and community benefits.” President Head, in reference to the economy remarked, “That while we are still faced with economic challenges, the US economy is getting better and that paints a brighter picture for the Port, for you, our partners and for the City.”
The State of the Port breakfast featured Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, “I’m going to be working pretty aggressively to market the City of Oakland with the Port.” Quan commented that there is a lot of interest in California, the U.S. and international trade. In recognition of the City’s portion of redeveloping the former Oakland Army Base (OAB) Mayor Quan said, “The commitment that we are making to the Port goes way beyond the time when I’ll be mayor...this is a long-term commitment to the economic and regional growth and a commitment to making this Port a Port that will continue to be competitive into the century.”
Executive Director Benjamin’s speech outlined the preliminary results of an economic study that details positive growth in Port business and the related impact by supporting more than 50,000 jobs in the region, “On the maritime front, in 2010, total container volume increased 14% to approximately 2.3 million TEU’s, bringing us almost all the way back to pre-recession peak levels. Our export volume was the second highest in our history.”
Turning to aviation, at the Oakland International Airport, Benjamin stated, “We are stabilizing our business and moving forward. Despite continued challenges in the industry...we saw modest growth in our passenger volume to a little over 9.5 million passengers in 2010. Even better news comes on the cargo side, where we were able to grow air cargo volume by 4%.”
Benjamin remarked that on the Commercial Real Estate front, “We have also been making some progress despite the continued challenging economic situation. Our real estate revenue remains stable, at around $12 million, about 5% of Port revenue, and a very visible part of our portfolio for the community. Our biggest accomplishment of this year was the closure of a multi-million dollar deal with Divco West to infuse Jack London Square with significant capital to pay for tenant improvements, attract new tenants, and to freshen up the development.”
Exemplifying the State of the Port theme – Your Port, Your Partner – Benjamin emphasized, “Only together can we aggressively grow our businesses, create jobs, and realize the many ambitious community and environmental goals we share.”
About the Port of Oakland
The Port of Oakland oversees the Oakland seaport, Oakland International Airport and 20 miles of waterfront. The Oakland seaport is the fifth busiest container port in the U.S.; Oakland International Airport is the second largest San Francisco Bay Area airport, offering over 130 daily flights; and the Port’s real estate includes commercial developments such as Jack London Square and hundreds of acres of public parks and conservation areas. The Port of Oakland was established in 1927 and is an independent department of the City of Oakland. Please visit: www.portofoakland.com.
Port of Oakland Spokesperson